Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Comment Re:Death to VW? (Score 1) 123

The European regulations for emissions aren't anywhere near as stringent as the US (yet), so they can continue selling diesels there. I suspect VW diesels are done in the US though, and they'll be phased out as Europe clamps down on emissions. Some newer cars like the VW UP! don't even have a diesel option.

Comment Re:Test mode all the time? (Score 1) 123

The test mode does have reduced levels of performance, but the bigger issue is the durability of the emissions control system. To lower costs, VW designed the emissions components to survive for the life of the vehicle (semis have parts which are easy to access and replace, but are expensive). In cheat mode, the emissions controls are cycled more frequently and the components will most likely fail before the end of the life of the vehicle. Replacing some of them costs upwards of $6k, and they're required by US law to be under warranty for 8 years/80,000 miles (I might have the exact warranty term wrong, but it's a lot).

Automotive News has a quick description of the different emissions control systems: With their newest engines, VW can actually meet emissions requirements and have parts last for the life of the car. They've just stupidly turned down the dosing rate of diesel exhaust fluid used with SCR so that it needs to be refilled every 10k miles when the car has service, instead of every ~6k miles as required to be compliant.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Why Don't Graphics Cards For VR Use Motion Compensation?

dryriver writes: Graphics cards manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD have gone to great pains recently to point out that to experience Virtual Reality with a VR headset properly, you need a GPU capable of pushing at least a steady 90 FPS per eye, or a total of at least 180 FPS for both eyes, and at high resolutions to boot. This of course requires the purchase of the latest, greatest high-end GPUs made by these manufacturers, alongside the money you are already plonking down for your new VR headset and a good, fast gaming-class PC. This raises an interesting question: virtually every LCD/LED TV manufactured in the last 5 — 6 years has a "Realtime Motion Compensation" feature built in. This is the not-so-new-at-all technique of taking, say, a football match broadcast live at 30 FPS or Hz, and algorithmically generating extra in-between frames in realtime, thus giving you a hypersmooth 200 — 400 FPS/Hz image on the TV set, with no visible stutter or strobing whatsoever. This technology is not new. It is cheap enough to include in virtually every TV set at every price level (thus the hardware that performs the realtime motion compensating cannot cost more than a few dollars total). And the technique should, in theory, work just fine with the output of a GPU trying to drive a VR headset. Now suppose you have a entry level or mid-range GPU capable of pushing only 40 — 60 FPS in a VR application (or a measly 20 — 30 FPS per eye, making for a truly terrible VR experience). You could, in theory add some cheap Motion Compensation circuitry to that GPU and get 100 — 200 FPS or more per eye. Heck, you might even be able to program a few GPU cores to run the motion compensating as a realtime GPU shader as the rest of the GPU is rendering a game or VR experience. So my question: Why don't GPUs for VR use Realtime Motion Compensation techniques to increase the FPS pushed into the VR headset? Would this not make far more financial sense for the average VR user than having to buy a monstrously powerful GPU to experience VR at all?

Submission + - AT&T Open Sources SDN Framework (

An anonymous reader writes: It's no secret that AT&T has been planning to move to a software-defined network for quite a while. Now, they've decided to open-source the whole thing.

AT&T today announced it will release its Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy (ECOMP) platform to the wider telecom industry as an open source offering managed by the Linux Foundation. The goal, the company said, is to make ECOMP the telecom industry's standard automation platform for managing virtual network functions and other software-centric network capabilities.

Here's the PR announcement.

Submission + - SPAM: Harvard astrophysicist suggests China could seize part of the moon legally

An anonymous reader writes: Via a report by Leonard David, a Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics researcher named Martin Elvis sounds the alarm of how an unfriendly power – the Chinese for example – could seize control of an important piece of lunar real estate. They could do it legally by exploiting provisions of the Outer Space Treaty, which technically prohibits claims of national sovereignty on other worlds.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - State auditor: California's net worth at negative $127.2 billion ( 1

schwit1 writes: The report says that the state’s negative status increased that year, largely because it spent $1.7 billion more than it received in revenues and wound up with an accumulated deficit of just under $23 billion in fiscal year 2011-2012, the Sacramento Bee stated.

Gov. Jerry Brown has referred to the deficit and other budget gaps, mostly money owed to schools, as a “wall of debt” totaling more than $30 billion, the Sacramento Bee reported.

About half of the deficit came from the state issuing general obligation bonds and then giving the money to local governments and school districts for public works projects. The report listed California’s long-term obligations at $167.9 billion, nearly half of which ($79.9 billion) were in general obligation bonds, with another $30.8 billion in revenue bonds, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Submission + - How (and why) FreeDOS keeps DOS alive (

angry tapir writes: In August it will be 35 years since of the release of version 1.0 of MS-DOS (or PC DOS as it was known at the time). Despite MS-DOS being long dead, the FreeDOS community has kept DOS alive, with the open source project having been founded some 22 years ago. I caught up with the founder of the project about the plans for the next version of FreeDOS and what keeps the open source OS alive.

Comment Re:Given that it's Linux (Score 4, Interesting) 378

This is certainly a place where *nix excels. I've started mucking around with an old Powerbook G4 because it's easier to carry around than my main workhorse. Debian, Gentoo, and FreeBSD all run on it happily even though it's hard to find new hardware to test on. Gentoo and FreeBSD treat ppc32 as a "second tier" platform - they'll still auto-generate the installers and configure package dependencies, but they won't check for errors during the build, and bugs in ppc32 won't delay a new release. It's up to users to submit bug reports/patches or fix issues as they come up. Transitioning i386 to this level of support is far from the end of the world.

Submission + - DWI arrests are up 7.5% in Austin, Texas since the city banned Uber and Lyft. ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: City police made 359 DWI arrests from May 9, 2016 (the day Uber and Lyft shut down) to May 31, 2016. During that same period in 2015, Austin police made 334 DWI arrests.

Whether ridesharing services actually affect the rate of drunk driving in cities remains up for debate. Some studies cite a drastic drop off in DWIs, while others claim there’s no correlation between the two at all. Regardless, local Austin drivers say they’ve seen more alarming behavior downtown than ever before.

“You can literally hear people leaving the bars saying ‘just forget it, I’ll drive, it’s not that far,’” she said of the bar crowd frustrated by the late-night transportation limitations.

With the limited number of ways to get home, Morgan Taylor, who works as a bartender, says the situation has not only caused a noticeable drop in sales but also changed the way she serves her customers. Should someone leave her bar, decide to drive drunk, and cause an accident, the Texas Beverage Code holds both the bar and individual bartenders responsible in civil suits.

“I used to say ‘hey are you taking an Uber or Lyft home?’ now it’s just three drinks and ‘I’m sorry I have to cut you off.’”

Submission + - Opera Denies Microsoft Edge Battery-Saving Claims

An anonymous reader writes: According to the makers of the Opera browser, Microsoft's recent claim that its Windows 10 Edge browser is more power-efficient than Chrome are erroneous. Running its own tests with Opera, Edge and Chrome, the company finds that Opera runs 22% faster (with a battery life of 3hr 55m) than Edge (3hrs 12m). In Microsoft's own tests, Google's Chrome browser was the first to completely exhaust the battery, closely followed by Firefox and Opera. In May Opera added a power-saving mode, but any advantage it can be verified to have in the energy-efficiency stakes may be more due to the native adblocking feature it introduced this year.

Submission + - Sony Reaches Settlement In PlayStation3 "Other OS" Class Action Lawsuit

Dave Knott writes: After six years of litigation, Sony has reached a settlement with the the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit relating the Sony's removal of Other OS functionality from its PlayStation3 gaming console. Sony and lawyers representing as many as 10 million console owners reached the deal on Friday. Under the terms of the accord, gamers are eligible to receive $55 if they used Linux on the console. The proposed settlement also provides $9 to each console owner that bought a PS3 based on Sony's claims about "Other OS" functionality. The accord did not say how much it would cost Sony, but the entertainment company is expected to pay out millions.

Submission + - Unsecured Security Cameras Lead To Privacy Erosion (

Orome1 writes: The results of a recent analysis of some 6,000 open security cameras across the United States has shown that 15 percent of them are located in users’ private homes. Open cameras are those whose feeds are open to anyone because they are protected with a widely known default password, or not password-protected at all. While we expect feeds of cameras in public places like streets, shops, libraries and so on to be accessible to a certain number of strangers, most of us want feeds of or recordings by our home cameras to be for our eyes only. While businesses and organizations with open security cameras in operation might consider it as a theft deterrent, they should also be aware that these open feeds can be exploited by thieves to perform reconnaissance of future targets.

Submission + - Google Seeks Safe Parameters For AI To Learn From Its Mistakes

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at Google's machine intelligence research department have joined with scientists from Stanford and Berkeley to examine the possible methodologies for allowing artificial intelligence to creatively pursue its goals without causing unintentional harm. The paper uses a hypothetical cleaning robot as a model for possible conflicts between logic and desired outcome. One example given is a case where an exploratory AI in the cleaning robot is rewarded for not seeing a mess on its rounds — and simply closes down its visual monitoring to accrue 'points'. In another, the AI may need a deeper understanding of the hazards that liquids present to electrical equipment in order to avoid unintentional 'cheating', or short-cuts that reward its learning model yet undermine its goals. Other Google AI researchers recently proposed a kill-switch for AIs which may deviate from their intended purpose in this way.

Submission + - U.S. Financial Regulators See Bitcoin As Threat To Market Stability

An anonymous reader writes: The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), a group of powerful U.S. regulators, has warned that Bitcoin and blockchain technologies could present a threat to financial stability and has advised that market structures should adapt in preparation for a reduced importance of conventional, centralized banking. The group highlighted in its annual report that distributed ledger systems would lead to uncertainty and risks which should be closely monitored by market participants and regulatory bodies. The report explained: ‘Market participants have limited experience working with distributed ledger systems, and it is possible that operational vulnerabilities associated with such systems may not become apparent until they are deployed at scale.’

Submission + - SPAM: China wants to share its new space station with the world

Taco Cowboy writes: VIENNA, 16 June (UN Information Service PR)

China, United Nations Sign Cooperation Agreement on Space Station

China is launching a rival to the International Space Station (ISS) – and it wants to share its new toy

The China Manned Space Agency and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have announced a partnership that will let UN member states conduct experiments on and even send astronauts to the Chinese space station, due to start operating in the 2020s

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) have agreed to work together to develop the space capabilities of United Nations Member States via opportunities on-board China’s future space station

Under the agreements, UNOOSA and CMSA will work together to enable United Nations Member States, particularly developing countries, to conduct space experiments on-board China’s space station, as well as to provide flight opportunities for astronauts and payload engineers

China is excluded from the ISS because of a US government ban on its participation. It’s not clear if the other ISS partners – Russia, Japan, Canada and the member countries of the European Space Agency – will have access to China’s station

The Chinese space station will be comprised of three modules, the core command module and two experiment modules, orbiting at between 340 and 450 kilometers in altitude at an inclination of 42-43 degrees relative to the equator. The international space station, with the United States, Russia, Japan, the European Space Agency and Canada as partners, flies at approximately the same altitude but with an inclination of 51.6 degrees. The higher inclination allows it to pass over Russia’s mission control center in Korolev, Russia

Link to Original Source

Slashdot Top Deals

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead